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back to article BAA promises to get its Heathrow act together

Heathrow operator BAA has promised to spend £50m at the airport to prevent a repetition of last December's anarchy, which saw the "wrong amount of snow" stranding thousands of passengers. The Heathrow Winter Resilience Enquiry report (PDF/2.1MB here) into the fiasco summarises that the effect of the weather "was not fully …

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circumstances under its control

This is the classic air industry argument.

Easyjet will argue that your evening flight being cancelled because some delay in Spain or wherever caused their morning flight to run late and hence the rest of the day ran late and now the staff don't have sufficient working hours to fly your flight is due to "circumstances outside of its control", when clearly it could have been avoided had they been better prepared and/or scheduled a bit more slack into the system to cope with such eventualities.

Given that, I'm sure BAA can argue that any sort of weather-related incident is outside of its control.

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The weather is outside anyone's control...

... BAA's response is completely under its control

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The answer lies in Top Gear!

Their Combine Harvester/Snowplough _nearly_ worked.

Given that combines have a power feed at the front for the harvester bits,

a snow blower attachment might have been a better idea.

BAA could keep a dozen or so of these attachments at each airport,

and when the weather starts looking dodgy, rent some combines from nearby farmers.

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Dearth of Combines

Don't think they have that much arable agriculture around Heathrow!

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Go

It isn't so ridiculous

In New York, snow plough attachments are fitted to the front of bin lorries. Again, you have a hydraulic circuit on the bin lorry. And you aren't going to be doing refuse collection in deep snow.

The big problem with airports though is that ploughs aren't the full answer. You can't plough snow from an aircraft movement area to the sides without ensuring that enough is cleared to wingtip clearance as well. Also you can't use grit because of the risk of foreign object damage to the engines from bits of grit. Basically your main option is to dump loads of chemicals to melt all the snow. Even that needs the right equipment though.

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WTF?

Bin Lorry?

Would that translate to "garbage truck"?

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Anonymous Coward

better still.....

just realise it was fking snowing heavy!

Cancelled journey, boo hoo!

Why do the brit assume that we should be prepared for every eventuality, yet not want to pay for it?

Just take it on the chin, fate didn't want you to travel. Else don't winge when ticket prices shoot up to pay for the huge investment in equipment that may be used for 1 week out of 52.

You cant have it all.

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Re:better still.....

Oslo airport managed to stay open throughout the winter, why couldn't Heathrow?

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Unhappy

Bwahahahahaaaaa Who don't get screwed in this?

So let's see, British Taxpayers paid for LHR

British Taxpayers paid for T-5

And the British Taxpayers will be paying for this. Heaven forbid the sky high gate fees will be raised, thus (sic: gain) raising the ticket prices.

Clearly they didn't see the recent series on *5* that covered Stansted, which was only closed for 2 hours in the Dec 2010 blizzards where investments had been made.

Oh that's the other BAA, a tourist airport owner in the Midlands where no one cares.

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FAIL

Yeah right!

Cock up, piss poor communication, lack of planning, failure to act on information received, failure to accept contractor offers of assistance, the list goes on and on...

But hey, this is England. Nothing ever goes wrong here.

What's that you say?

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Just a bunch of excuses

It's all just a bunch of excuses to cover up for their incompetence and lack of investment.

Fact: Stockholm's Arlanda airport has never in it's 50 year history closed because of snow. They have the infrastructure to clear all three runways in about 20 minutes. Snow fall is common in that area of Sweden any time between mid-October and mid-April.

I'm almost sure that Heathrow generates more money per passenger than Arlanda. They should use this money to invest in some better infrastructure instead of just lining the pockets of shareholders.

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I blame the owners of BAA

who are the Spanish construction company Ferrovial, for spending the absolute minimum on LHR.

IIRC the Times ran a sizeable article on Ferrovial but I can only put my hands on this Independent article - http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/baa-owners-shares-dive-on-heathrow-fines-fears-2171095.html

Gatwick didn't close on that particular day but then I believe their owners had recently brought a load of 2ndhand snow kit from the Norwegians.

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Pint

I must be stupid

I got stuck at LHR 2 years running on the same date. Wondering whether to make it 3/3 :-D

To be fair to LHR (which is just shit and not because of the snow) I have been snowbound at Roissy, Munich, Frankfurt, Zurich, Shithole Amsterdam (which is not as bigger shithole as LHR) and Vienna. Oh and Manchester. So we Brits do not have a monopoly on the wrong kind of snow.

Only in Russia and the Nordics have I never been snowbound with impressive amounts of snow - think three feet / 24 hours, not the 3 inches that paralysed the UK.

My solution to it all. Find bar. Drink beer.

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the (lack) of importance of passengers

"... focused on the needs of the passenger".

Can someone check the change log on the document as see if the word "cattle" had been globally replaced with "passenger".

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Anonymous Coward

BAA lacked specialised equipment?

How about buying some more snowploughs, instead of having to borrow them from the French or Germans ..

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Do they have special classes

That train adults to say: '"If the entire Heathrow community learns from this report, and works more collaboratively to promote passengers' interests, then this is a pivotal moment for the airport and its reputation."' with a straight face?

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Heathrow sucks even when it is working

And BAA are wholly and completely to blame. Why does a modern terminal require you to keep zig-zagging side to side to get in, through security, to the gates, and other places. Oh, to increase footfall at shops. This results in something like a 2km walk for an average long haul business flier at Heathrow. And do you know how many moving walkways there are in T5? If you guessed none then you were right. Heathrow T5 is just a big fail, if it wasn't for the fact I had the best part of a million BA miles keeping me flying BA, I would be using another airport by now.

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should adopt an improved resilience target

I'll think I'll do that as well - can I do while I'm having a little lie down?

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